We hadn’t planned to grow strawberries this year. I’ve tried planting strawberries for several years and never had much luck. At best, I’ve gotten one or two small berries off the whole crop, so when we made up our garden plan back in February, strawberries weren’t even on the list. Nonetheless, back in April I was walking down the main street in my neighbourhood and I noticed that our local green grocer had strawberry plants for sale. They looked healthy and already had several blossoms. Something just clicked; the strawberries seemed to say, “This is the year”.

I bought 6 plants on a whim and planted them in one of the railing boxes on our balcony, the only plants out there at the time. The very next day, we had a hail storm that stripped the plants of most of their leaves and all of the petals. Stems were broken, and I worried that the plants might die just as they were getting settled. I wathced them every day, allowing the broken branches to stay on the plants as long as possible in the hopes that they were still getting some photosynthesi,s and dead heading them as each one finally died. But through it all sprouts of new growth began peeking up from the centre of the plants, and several weeks later they were all stronger and healthier than when I bought them, with nice big strawberries.

But it looks like something still doesn’t want me to have a strawberry crop. Two days ago, when I went out to check on the plants as I do every morning, I found a still-green strawberry with a big bite out of it, and another laying on the soil.  Two holes had also been dug in one of the railing boxes containing onions, but the onions themselves were undistrubed. Yesterday, I found the two largest berries on the soil with bites out of them. I don’t know if I have a squirrel (because of the holes in the onion patch) or birds, or a combination of both, but something must be done.

Half eaten strawberries

Two strawberries with bites taken out of them

We’re trying to devise some way of securing bird netting around them, but for now we’re just taking the whole planter in every night, since whatever is doing this seems to be nocturnal.